2006-08-17

Aboriginals in Canada

Aboriginals in Canada.
Canadians governments should offer services in the main Aboriginal Languages and the country should consider making reservations bigger.

Preventable violence
As we look at violent conflicts in the Middle-East and Sri Lanka, we are reminded that Canada is not the only multilingual country with religious pluralism.

Pluralism is the norm
Most countries in the world have significant linguistic and religious minorities. Canada is not the exception, but rather the norm.

Canada as an example to the world
I think Canada should lead by example. The territory that is Canada has known significant violence based on language and religion. The deportation of up to 20,000 French speaking Catholic Acadians by the English speaking Protestant rulers is but one example.

Generous or pay the price
When it comes to minorities, being tolerant is not enough. We need to be generous. The way Canada has treated Aboriginal Canadians can not be qualified as generous.

1-800-SPK-Cree
Canada should, at the very least, offer government services in the languages of the main Aboriginal groups. In this age of telecommunication, it is easy and relatively cheap. For example, you could have a toll free number for instant translation.

Good communication
Translating can be incorporated into a good communication strategy. Having written by-laws at the municipal level, I can assure you that translating them (or having others translate them), makes you think twice about just how clear they are. I have made many corrections because of translations. Without these corrections, my work would have been more likely to end up in court. I am convinced that Canadian forms are simpler and easier to read than American forms. You don't have to translate to be an effective communicator, but it can help, greatly offsetting the cost of translating.

Too small even for caribou
Most Aboriginal reservations are simply to small to be financially viable. Even with the life style of their ancestors, food to mouth and dead by 40, the territory required was much larger. How can we expect today's aboriginals to have anything close to the Canadian average standard of living with the minuscule reservations we have given them?

Promote and celebrate
We should also promote aboriginal culture and languages. Aboriginals are part of Canada and enrich it's culture and society. We can't realistically expect English of French Canadians to be the guardians of Aboriginal language and culture, but they shouldn't be the reason for the demise of thousand year old cultures.

Roger

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